Important Factor for the Balance between Tumor Development and Wound Healing Identified in the Intestine

18 October 2012
Patients suffering from chronic mucosal inflammation in the intestine have a higher risk to develop colorectal cancer. Scientists of the CRC 841 and the Yale University School of Medicine have now identified a factor which can prevent that a tumor develops from inflammatory bowel disease.

Cell proliferation and the formation of new blood vessels are stimulated in the course of wound healing. These processes take also place during tumor development. Thus scientists hypothesized already in the past that the same factors and pathways that are important for wound healing, also promote tumorigenesis. Dr. Samuel Huber, a young research scientist in the CRC 841 at the UKE and his colleagues from the US could now corroborate this hypothesis: They showed that during inflammatory bowel disease the ratio of interleukin-22 and its endogenous inhibitor interleukin-22 binding protein is critical for successful wound healing. This ratio also determines whether processes during the recovery phase lead to tumor formation or not. These new results, published in Nature, improve the understanding of the mechanisms that are involved in tumor development. This is an important prerequisite for the development of new strategies to prevent and treat cancer.